While recently having dinner at a gathering, one of those who attended asked me either insultingly or either as side sly joke…“So…when are you going to start eating real food?” While at times these statements make for ice breakers or a chance to share ideas it seems that there seems that there is underlying attitude that caring about ones health isn’t masculine. Pervasive attitudes like this can have grave consequences that not only affect the person but also affect the people they love and those around them.
Statistically, I treat more women than men for Holistic Nutrition services. For every 6 women I treat, I may have one male client who wants to explore healthier patterns of eating and living. And many times it is the wife who has to convince the husband on all levels that making a change will benefit him and the whole family. This isn’t to say that as a whole, men don’t care about health; it’s just that the culture of health and healing for men is often times presented from a Allopathic frame work and sparsely from a Naturopathic framework. Naturally, it’s understood why this is so. As men, many of us where raised to ‘suffer through it’ and ‘handle things on your own’. These perceptions of valor are of course honorable when applied to the right situation. However there is no valor in dealing with ill health and harboring apathy when it comes to our own future life span on planet earth. It seems that the trends of health for everyone is at risk day by day, both for men and women. But that’s a given. There are many reasons why men, especially if they are fathers and husbands should really begin to start being open to natural health and healing at least on some level: even if it is in a small amount.
Heart disease is the number one leading cause of death in the world at present. It claims more lives than all forms of Cancer combined. 1 and every 4 men will die from heart disease in some form or another. The most common drugs prescribed for heart disease are beta blockers and calcium channel blockers. Side effects of these drugs include fatigue, cold hands, headaches, shortness of breath and diarrhea. A natural approach to preventing heart disease is to eat a high fiber diet while at the same time consuming fresh fruits and vegetables. Consumption of meats and dairy products would be minimal if not able to completely remove from the diet altogether. Regular exercise also provides strength to the heart while at the same flushing out toxins from the body.
Diabetes Type II:
Diabetes type 2 is a social disease and can be treated or eliminated altogether when the right plan of action is set in. Statistically, men are at a higher risk to develop this particular type of diabetes. Like heart disease, prevention is key so that treatment won’t be necessary. Thiazolidinediones are medications that are prescribed to help insulin process in the body easier. Side effects of these include water retention, weight gain, eyesight problems, reduced sense of touch, chest and pain infections, and allergic skin reactions. Again, prevention includes a regular regimen of exercise, a low-fat high fiber diet, and a regular pattern of mindfulness in order to reduce stress to offset any trigger of diabetes.
While this affects more women than men, this is trend is starting to change. Heredity and genetic make up can be a backdrop for predisposition to Alzheimer’s, but it doesn’t mean that it is a given and that a has to happen. Severely cutting down and or completely eliminating processed foods (as much as possible), engaging in thought provoking activities, maintaining meaningful relationships and staying active are the best prevention methods for this. Keeping a diet high on the alkaline side is also of great benefit.
Out of all those mentioned Cancer perhaps is perhaps one of the most elusive, mysterious and most socially devastating ailments that we are faced with at this time. 1 and 4 men worldwide will be diagnosed with some form of Cancer. Out of that equation 1 and 2 will ultimately die from some form of cancer. Whether you want to see it as a normal pattern of life, the way of the new world, the result of poor food choices or strictly hereditary, it doesn’t change present day reality; this is what we are dealing with in this new world. It has been proven in the world renown China Study that food does matter when dealing with Cancer; both as a prevention tool and as a healing method when there is an actual diagnosis. In a ray of hope, Integrative Medicine is slowly opening the door for combined treatments of both Western and Eastern methods to start really tackling the root causes of Cancer. Eating alkaline and continuously detoxifying your body on a regular basis is without a doubt the first and best line of defense when it comes to fighting this.
Being masculine and caring about the state of your health doesn’t have to be choice: it should be one and the same. Many of us are facing diseases and outbreaks that our Grand and Great-Grand Parents would never dream of seeing. As men, staying on top of our internal nutritional health is just as important as working out at the gym, or going to play ball. As we position our self for the next upcoming year, consider looking into Holistic and Natural treatments to support or supplement any treatments that you feel aren’t working for you; now is a good a time as any. With health and love.